It did not take long for Josh Jones to gain a comfort level with the franchise that drafted him. After the Arizona Cardinals selected him with the No. 72 overall pick in the third round, Jones received congratulatory messages and words of encouragement from his new teammates.
"(Left tackle) D.J. Humphries texted me after the draft," Jones said. "(Right tackle) Marcus Gilbert texted me after the draft. So, they just wanted to be able to welcome me in, put me in contact with them so it's an open connection. I can call them anytime if I need anything, getting ready to pick their brains to know how to become a true pro."
Those exchanges resonated with Jones, who is entering the beginning stages of his NFL career. In four years as a left tackle at Houston, Jones evolved into a leader who commanded the respect of his entire offensive line room.
Now, he is having to adapt to the reality that he is a rookie. Jones is preparing himself, mentally and physically, for the adjustments from the collegiate to professional level. It is a difficult change as it is, amplified by the fact that teams cannot meet for in-person offseason work due to restrictions caused by COVID-19.
Instead, Jones is training at home in Texas. While working to stay in peak football shape, he is also participating in the team's Virtual Offseason work, which commenced on Monday. He said learning the playbook is one of his fortes and that he is attempting to emphasize his focus on getting up to speed with the Cardinals' offensive scheme. There are a multitude of other challenges, though.
"It is hard getting to know my teammates a little bit more, just with the situation," Jones said. "Everybody has to stay at home. I like getting in with those guys and learning as much as possible and building those friendships. So, I just can't wait, going to try to be able to get up there to Arizona and get started."
Offensive line is one of the positions requiring maximum cohesiveness so the offense runs on the same page. Continuity is important, but forming relationships with new players who enter the room is a crucial aspect as well.
Arizona set itself up well by bringing Humphries and Gilbert back, while also maintaining a majority of consistency across the line. The major outlier at this point is center, as last season's starter A.Q. Shipley remains a free agent. Outside of him, there were no departures and only new additions via the draft.
The silver lining is that Jones already knows he will have themes in common with his new teammates. He has repeatedly expressed increased interest in movies, and Humphries is known for being the type of personality to love the cameras and spotlight. Jones is already planning on some excursions together in the future.
"Maybe we can go out, we can draw some criticism from each movie we see and see what we got," he said. "I'm just happy and excited to get in the room. I know there's a lot of great guys in that room. They already reached out to me, welcoming me already. I'm easy to get along with. I work hard. So, I should be able to come in that room and create those bonds with those guys."